How to survive a tele-sales job

Melissa Dawn By Melissa Dawn, 19th Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Jobs>Careers

Tele-sales jobs are often a misunderstood career path. The work and atmosphere involved has been portrayed badly by the media, leading many people to avoid it. Tele-sales can be as miserable or enjoyable as we choose to make it.

Introduction to tele-sales jobs

Tele-sales in its simplist form is selling products and services over the telephone, usually within a call center or contact center environment. Often viewed as a last resort job, the word 'tele-sales' conjures up images of having to take a dull, dreary second job typically at night or involving shift work and trying to sell semi-useless stuff to rude customers.

Things have changed :-)

Not only has the call center environment changed, but how we sell, what we sell, and who we sell it to is vastly different from the old boiler room days of tele-sales. Today many tele-sales jobs are within Fortune 500 and subsidiary companies and top tele-sales performers can expect to make 50k and over. Many of these jobs often offer telecommute options or are completely home based, which to some professionals is one of the pros of tele-sales work.

Getting started in tele-sales

Even in a recession people need and want stuff, and it is typically the needs that win over the wants. Getting started in a tele-sales job often means starting on the bottom rung. Call centers are in every major and many smaller cities and towns, and chain call centes such as business supply Staples and telecommunications call centers are always looking for new recruits to sell products. Searching at your local job bank, or perusing the daily paper will usually bring up at least a handful of tele-sales positions requiring no prior experience.

Many people look to tele-sales as a new career after having been downsized and bring a wealth of applicable skills to the sales environments. A growing trend of retiree's looking to supplement their income through project based (limited time) tele-sales is definitely on the rise.

The tele-sales environment

Initial tele-sales positions in a call center environment usually mean sitting at a desk in a cubicle environment with a head set hooked up to a computer. Working along side at least 100 other employee's is never easy, the noise level is up and the chance to mingle, even over the water fountain is minimal. Tele-sales training may last a couple of days or in the better call centers a few weeks, and then your on your own with a quota to meet.

Succeeding in a tele-sales environment means usually adhering to a strict sales script and knowing when to ad-lib when necessary. Call times are closely monitored and it is essential to develop closing skills. Wittering on, without assuming the sales is a fast way to get shown the door.

Surviving a job in tele-sales

To survive and thrive in a tele-sales jobs means you need two things; a thick skin and an entrepreneurial mind set. Call centers often only offer base pay and bonuses, and it is the bonuses after your quota have been met that make all the difference. Knowing the structure of the bonuses and perks means you can set your own individual financial goals and go for them!

Once you've mastered basic tele-sales you might want to move on to a more professional environment. Top tele-sales organizations won't even look at you without one to three years established as a tele-sales performer. Good tele-sales jobs can be done at home through telecommute positions and often involve appointment setting where you pre-sell a business owner or manager a product or service.


Sales isn't for everyone. Tele-sales are a recession proof industry but they can be a lonely job even while working with a hundred or more other employee's. Training is often minimal and those looking to succeed often read suplementary sales guides or go on seminars or on-line training programs. Telecommute sales jobs often provide far more flexibility and earning potential once you have become established in the field.


Call Center, How To Do Sales Work, Making Money From Sales, On-Line Sales Jobs, Sales In A Call Center, Sales Representative, Sales Work, Surviving Sale Work, Tele-Sales, Telecommute Sales Jobs, Telecommuting Sales Jobs, Virtual Sales Jobs, Working In A Call Center

Meet the author

author avatar Melissa Dawn
I have been writing ever since I can remember, and currently focus my attention on articles, how to guides and e-books. Check out my group e-book at

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author avatar christopheranton
20th Feb 2011 (#)

Having worked in telesales, I have to say that the level of satisfaction is directly related to the
quality of the product you are selling.
A lot of telesales companies, including the last one I worked for,
expect you to con people over the phone to take
absolutely useless products.
They are just criminal organisations.
Not all of them are that bad , however.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
20th Feb 2011 (#)

Been there, done that and I have to agree with christopheranton's comment. One of the things that I find objectonable with the modern call centers is the use of predictive dialer systems when computers dial the numbers and then keep the recipient on the line waiting for an agent to become available to take the call. That's not very professional and it's rude to keep a person waiting for a live person to reply to their "Hello".

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author avatar Melissa Dawn
20th Feb 2011 (#)

Christopher and Jerry, have to agree with you that it is important to choose a tele-sales environment where the products and services are useful. Think you've both inspired me to do a series on thsi subject.

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author avatar Retired
20th Feb 2011 (#)

Good article...thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Dafeenah
14th Mar 2011 (#)

I have worked in sales for many years and I love sales but I despise tele-sales. I don't know if it was just the places I worked in or what but I just can't do it. I always thought all were the same but you're right there are some good ones and a great job opportunity for the right person.

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